Red Bull can’t use Renault’s recently-introduced C-spec power unit at the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix due to the higher altitude of the tracks, says Max Verstappen.
The driver also revealed Renault’s latest specification potentially offers less power in the races but has more available for a single lap in qualifying.
Both Red Bull drivers are set to start this weekend’s race from the back of the grid as the team fits new ‘B-spec’ Renault power units to their cars. Verstappen predicted they will be able to get “back to fifth and sixth” in the race.
“That’s our target,” he said. “Pace-wise we should get there it just depends how easily you can overtake on this track. We’ll focus maybe a little bit more on the long run than the short run and then try to set up the car in a good way.”
He explained why the team is reverting to a previous specification of Renault’s power unit: “Our C-spec cannot run at high altitude in Mexico and Brazil,” he said. “We always knew since we took the C-spec on that we had to take another B at one point. So I think this is the best place to do it. Also to have a bit more spare parts in case something breaks down.”
The Mexican and Brazil rounds of the world championship take place at the two highest circuits on the calendar. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is 2,200 metres above sea level and Interlagos is at 764m.
According to Verstappen the C-spec power unit offers a performance gain in qualifying but not in races because “the recovery of the engine is not as good.”
“The C-spec has a little more power in qualifying but it’s the same or maybe a little slower in the race,” he explained.
“But it’s all about qualifying. You always want to take another tenth or one-and-a-half tenths if the engine gives it to you. That’s why we decided to take the C-spec.
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